Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Sometimes the demands of daily life can wear us down and make us forget the simple joy of just being alive. Personal problems challenge our brains and hearts. Work grinds us down physically and emotionally. Politics, impending disasters and stories of danger, despair, and discouragement fill the news each evening. Even our “social media” contacts serve as daily reminders that there is pain and suffering in the world.
So what are we to do? How are we to cope? Train up a child and she will return to that training in times of tribulation. I go to the source for answers. I open my Bible and seek the truth of God’s Word. And God’s word tells me that the fruit of my spirit should be love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness. If I have lost any of those then I need to take some time and deliberation to renew them and regain that “steadfast spirit” within me.
I did a little of that yesterday. I spent most of the day doing trivial tasks that allowed my brain to focus on a couple of concerns. I completed a photo project. I worked on a puzzle. I walked around the yard. I did some reading. I didn’t even try to solve any problems, but instead put them into perspective and realized that God is still in control and my future is not limited by my plans or the plans of others.
Even our founding fathers recognized God’s role in our lives: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Some might argue that they didn’t specifically say God, but while they disagreed about organized religion, most claimed to be Christians.
You might notice too, that they didn’t say we all have the right to be happy, but rather to pursue happiness. I think there is a profound difference between the two that must be understood. Thinking we have a right to be happy often gets in the way of finding true inner joy and peace. We can rejoice in being alive even though we are unhappy that we are living with pain and problems.
So I offer a little advice today. If you are troubled, if you are in pain, physically or emotionally, if you have temporarily lost your joy, renew your body by resting from some of your daily chores and renew your spirit by reading God’s word.